Soaring & Powered Flight
Recently we stopped by the Airfield to catch the final Go for both Soaring and Powered Flight for the Spring Semester. Soaring's Final Go began on April 10th while Powered Flight started closer to the beginning of March, with both programs finishing up sometime in the next week or so.
At the beginning of the day during T Day's Fly 1 it was very cloudy and a bit windy to the point where Fly 1 was grounded for the majority of their class time. With Fly 2 and 3 the weather seemed to calm down enough to where they were finally able to fly. Each Go Cadets only have 10 lessons of Soaring and must try to complete those 4 flights within that time. Our coverage of M Day was much smoother and we were able to catch all three Fly groups getting their flights in!
Back in December, Cadets had to apply for the Airfield program they were hoping to take during one of the 3 summer periods. After talking with different cadets it seemed pretty even as far as those who wanted to take Soaring (which would make them eligible for AM 461, the Cadet Instructor Pilot Upgrade program which they would take their Sophomore year - and others were hoping for AM 490, Jump instead. I guess we'll find out who ended up getting which program when we catch the Upperclassmen summer programs!
Most of the Cadets we will catch during the academic year with our coverage of Soaring are the 4 Degrees, as they fly during the morning and into the afternoon, but more than likely with our afternoon coverage you will see more of a range of all 4 Classes. The reason being is that while the 4 Degrees are going through AM 251, the upperclassmen (mostly 3 Degrees) are going through Airmanship 461 or AM 461.
AM 461 is a Cadet Instructor Pilot Upgrade program, which will run all semester long. Only a certain number of 3 Degrees are selected from the applicant process and those who are selected will be the next generation of Soaring IPs (Instructor Pilots). While the 4 Degrees in AM 251 only have to take 4 Flights, the 3 Degrees in AM 461 must complete a total of 80 or more flights, not to mention ground and flight evaluations. The Cadets who complete this program and get their wings are the Air Force's yougest instructor pilots. Once AM 451 is completed the Cadet IPs can take one of two programs. AM 472 where they would then become instructors for the AM 251 program. Or AM 473, where their main job would be to train the next group of cadet instructor pilots.
To read more about the USAFA Soaring Program click here to read one of our earlier blogs from this semester.
To view the rest of the pictures from our M and T Day coverage of Soaring go to; Galleries - Airmanship - Soaring. Or click the link below.
Like at Soaring, T Day had a bit of a rough start but they were able to get everyone in who was scheduled, to fly. Our coverage of M Day was also much smoother and we were able to catch all 4 go times getting their flights in!
The Powered Flight Program started back in 1974 and until 2012 it only saw small changes in flight paths. In 2012, because of airspace conflicts there was a complete redesign of USAFA's airspace and how it was structured. From there, the Air Force and the FAA coordinated and created the "safest possible approaches, departures, training areas and flight patterns for USAFA operations," which were finally put into action in early 2013.
Powered Flight is a capstone course that serves as a culmination of a cadet’s aviation education. Lessons in Air Force heritage and principles of engineering are applied in real-life scenarios during nine flights in a single engine propeller driven aircraft. The training includes ground and flight instruction using T-53s, military instructors provide a basic introduction to Air Force pilot training and the experience of powered flight. Based on proficiency, approximately 50% of these students will solo. The training includes ground and flight instruction under an Air Education and Training Command (AETC) flying syllabus.
To view the rest of the pictures from our M and T Day coverage of Powered Flight go to; Galleries - Airmanship - Powered Flight. Or click the link below.